Masterful: September

I will soon be halfway through the first draft of Masterful.

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The book is flowing. This is one of my most satisfying writing projects up to now.

The other day, I took test photos of my new Snape wig. I hacked away at it with scissors for a while before I began snapping pictures to see how the wig would look on camera, and I experimented with light.

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Mystery is the quintessence of Severus Snape, the Prince of Snakes.

A real photo session will take place soon. It’s been years since my friend Diane and I did a shoot featuring the robes.

I haven’t been crafting much; it’s time consuming, and my time is currently devoted to the book, recuperation, relaxing on the front porch with a journal, doing a few select things with a few select people every now and then, a small circle of friends, because I honor my need for introversion and tranquility more than I ever have. I enjoy the times I spend with those close to me, but I need long periods of solitary home quietude between those times, and that’s perfectly fine.

I said in a previous post, “it’s not all about writing for me now,” though it is—and not. Because I also take care of myself now, I take care to relax, to have my life, as it were. I write, I savor the process, then I stop, I sink into the couch, watch movies, enjoy my pleasant surroundings. I have excellent, wonderful meals and riveting discussions with my beloved spouse who’s as introverted as I am. I add more toys to my collection and delight in them.

Be important to yourself, treat yourself well, with respect, honor yourself, and you will live a good life.

These days, I’m living my best life.

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a treat, and some thoughts

Here’s a chapter of Rascal that I shared on Patreon yesterday (a public post, for members and non-members).

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AVARITIA

(greed)

You desire, you indulge yourself, you relish good things, tasty things, rich things, colors and textures and scents—in this world.

Of course, it happens in this world.

This “fallen” world, according to some.

It’s not fallen. It’s the world, the real world, our only world.

A world of fire and water, of terrible storms and soft mornings, of loss and grief and joy and pleasure. A world of horrors and wonders.

What hurts us is terrible; what feels good is wonderful. This is natural.

It’s up to us to make this natural world as wonderful as it can be.

This won’t happen as long as we believe in the existence of an intangible, supernatural, otherworldly afterlife where nothing will ever harm us. An inhuman, unnatural world.

If you want to sell the story of invisible realms where everything is “perfect,” you need unhappy people. In this scenario, nothing is more problematic than a person who enjoys life and its pleasures. Even simple pleasures are troublesome.

Being happy and grateful in this world is to disdain the worthier, imaginary, divine panaceas.

Some people believe pleasure in this life is a sign of divine favor and a preview of the truly mind-boggling splendors awaiting humanity in the other world, the phantom dimension. Peddlers of cosmic mansions piously take the money supplied by countless people who hope they’ll start off with an opulent earthly mansion of their own as well.

The majority of religious systems don’t operate like this, though. They say, “Don’t worry too much if your life sucks. The next one will be better… as long as you do and believe what we tell you, that is.” They don’t want people to be utterly miserable, but they don’t want them too at home and content here on earth either.

Pick up your cross. Your begging bowl. Your mental hair shirt.

If you’re oppressed or abused, if you’re being treated abominably, rejoice. It’s a privilege, really, an opportunity, a blessing. Blood and suffering pleases the almighty; it’s his idea of a pleasant aroma. Tortured, stir-fried saints are held up as the most admirable of people, the most worthy of imitation.

If you’ve been abused, if you just barely manage to hold your traumatized mind together, if you’ve been told a million times that you’re worthless, a lot of crazy shit can make sense. A pie in the sky helps you survive and hang on a little longer.

Just remember: don’t be greedy. All the fat is the lord’s. Set your mind on the things above, not on earthly things.

Oh yeah?

Fuck the things that are above.

There are no such things.

Flush that mystical crap down the toilet.

Emancipate yourself. Believe in yourself. Avenge yourself.

Happiness in this world is a combination of luck and doing what you can so you and at least some of your fellow humans live as happy a life as possible. Happiness often requires a great deal of effrontery. You’re in pain, you’re going to die, things don’t go the way you want them to, but you dance all night anyway.

It’s tough. By fuck, life, being alive can be tough. Sometimes it seems like we’re always teetering on the edge of disaster, and we know the end is a breath away.

My philosophy is, have a glass of whiskey, smirk at the camera like a badass smart mouth decked out devil, and when the time comes to go over the edge, to take that final breath, think, well, it wasn’t all bad, was it? This ain’t so bad.

At least I lived. I had a moment.

I’m greedy for that moment. I want what the moment has to offer, all that my moment’s got.

This crucial greed means I figured out what I want, what I want my moment to be all about.

I want all that I’ve got, to be the star I am.

The greed I speak of involves risk. It involves the unknown. No one can decide what your life means for you. You have to decide. You have to choose.

You’re not being swept by a common wave. You’re not afraid of being alone. There’s no universal, one-size-fits-all solution. If you go where everyone else is going, you won’t experience your moment.

You’re drafting your map. Use what you have, change what you can, and create your best life.

Do whatever you can to enrich your life, to exult in yourself.

Each of us is our own ultimate earthly thing.

For too long, it was difficult for me to think this, let alone celebrate it. My mind was in a cage; my heart was bleeding from too many cuts.

It’s never too late to dare to turn your back on all the shit that brought you down.

To reclaim yourself: this is excellent greed.

Regardless of what any abuser tried to drum into you, you belong to yourself.

You’re not anyone’s possession.

You’re the captain of your existence.

Whatever you’ve been through, however much psychological conditioning you’ve endured, if you reach this liberating threshold, you can be sure self-ownership has always been there inside of you. You’ve always been a rascal.

They couldn’t quench your flame entirely. They couldn’t starve it forever.

The day I bust out of the mental jail of self-forgetfulness—of self-neglect and self-hate—the person I am began to shine forth into the world.

An outrageous, confident, inquisitive, playful, genderfluid, flamboyant, girl/boy tomboy.

A person who slowly but surely began to say “no” whenever it was needed. A person who said “yes” when she wanted to say it. My decisions were now in line with self-respect and true wisdom: human wisdom.

I stopped treating myself like a second thought.

No more torture, no more tears. No more damaging attempts to love everyone except myself. I stopped wondering if I was pleasing to a twisted, silent invisible it that required proof of my love by means of cruel, nebulous, and absurd tests. I loved those who deserved my love.

I adorned myself with gold necklaces and was a human being, flesh and bones, blood and water, at home on earth, my real home.

I am of the earth, and I love earthly things. I love myself.

The next few days are going to be impossibly frigid here, ugh. Mr P and I will be comfortably hidden from the elements tomorrow and Monday however, so there’s that.

I enjoy sharing photos on Instagram and I’d say it’s a new form of Livejournal (sort of) for me because a number of the people I knew on Livejournal are on Instagram, but the latter throttles its feed with algorithms or whatever, and of course the textual aspect of Instagram is minute, so… And it’s highly smart phone oriented. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to be glued to those things all the time.

In related news, I’ll definitely be renewing my subscription to The Idler this year.

I started sharing things on Ello again, because it’s one of the few remaining platforms that celebrates the arts, unique, original thinking and creative freedom, and isn’t terrified of flesh.

But, as I’ve mentioned repeatedly, Patreon is my online focus these days. I greatly enjoy using that platform, and I enjoy the exchanges I have with fabulous members there. The enthusiasm and support of members invigorates me, it feels wonderful, and there’s no doubt in my mind that Masterful will be my best book yet. I am discussing Professor Snape in that book, but it’s not exhaustive character analysis by any means; it’s more of a personal memoir.

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2019: projects, desires, goals

As I’d hoped, the holiday season was an exceedingly pleasant time for me. And it helped me hone in on precisely what I want to do, how I want to live, in 2019.

My use of Twitter will continue being stripped down to the bare bones: sharing links to logospilgrim.com updates, Patreon updates, and a few retweets here and there. That’s it.

I’ll use Instagram a bit more, but not that much more, to share photos and keep in touch with certain people.

I will update my main website, logospilgrim.com, once or twice a month.

I’ll focus my online time on Patreon, as I wrote in my previous blog post.

I decided to make the physical material I send out to second and third tier members as simple as possible (though third tier members also get copies of everything I publish, and exclusive items): a monthly copy of my newsletter Quiet Times, and a copy of my zine Stay Home Vagabond, which I have simplified (shorter, artwork on the cover, handwritten, photocopied content, colored paper cover that’s easier to fold than cardboard). Creating, and mailing, physical content is quite time and energy consuming, and after I sent the last batch of zines, I was exhausted and felt overwhelmed at the mere thought of doing it again and again and again (for an increasing number of people!). The logical and practical solution was to simplify the zines, which are important to me and which I very much want to send to my Patreon members. I firmly believe in the importance of material creations, of physical products. And I have nice handwriting.

I recently gave my Patreon account a new look. The other thing I’ll be doing on Patreon in 2019: first tier members will have access to some of my blog posts, photos, and online essays, second tier members will have access to more of them, and third tier members to all of them. On occasion, a post will be accessible to members and non-members.

The Patreon model appeals to me tremendously. What I do is, indeed, worthy of support and remuneration.

The Internet evolved (if one may put it that way) into something that spouts the following harmful message: content must be free, unless it originates from a mega-wealthy giant corporation. Of course you need to pay to see a film and so on, but not if the film, the artwork, the text, and so on, was created by a “minor” person with little influence/funds/power etc.

Hence the heft of platforms like Twitter, Faceborg, and others. The whole idea is to profit from the efforts of users, who offer everything, or practically everything, they post for free: their ideas, thoughts, lives, moments, art, writing, creativity, their selves… Like hamsters on a wheel, they give these platforms life and momentum: the energy of users fuels advertisement-driven algorithms designed to keep users running on their wheels, going nowhere, while the platforms, who demand free content, gorge themselves on the spoils, on the lifeblood of users who are lulled into believing that virtual is better, that their lives, their identities, their creations, their relationships, are only worth something if they’re dumped into the all-consuming electronic stream. The “likes” are bait designed to hook users and give a spark of pleasure and reassurance to their brain. “Here’s your Monopoly money, you’re someone now! Have some Coke.”

As Tom Hodgkinson, the founder of the brilliant publication The Idler, puts it,

We are true believers in the “pay to subscribe” business model rather than the “free but you become a target for advertising” approach. Paradoxically, getting it for free leads to slavery where paying for it leads to freedom.

Tom, incidentally, wrote an excellent article about Faceborg, which you can read here: With friends like these…

And then, there’s the tyranny of electronic devices drawing us into an omnipresent virtual “reality”—you must always be available, always “on,” always answering, always listening, never “missing” anything. Pay attention to those alert sounds, pitiful serf. Your blood is drained away, and you begin nourishing yourself with the insubstantial feeds that scroll by without ever stopping. You become an addict, a drone, a slave. You’re flawed if you don’t keep up. You’re uncaring, defective, defunct.

Absent. As though you didn’t exist.

This is foolishness, and I won’t have it.

This year, I’ll write more books, starting with Masterful; I’m getting back to work on it this week. Then, there will be more. And I’ll write about what delights me. I’ll write short books in my rambling Beat poet way, and a number of them will only be available to patrons. Their support gives me vitality, resources, and encouragement. For less than the price of a cup of coffee a month, members have access to my work: that’s not too much to ask. Yes, I will have at least that much nerve. And I too support fellow creators there—it delights me to do so.

Patreon has given me a great deal of verve and confidence, more so than almost anything else since I began independently publishing my work. 2018 was my first year having a Patreon account; in 2019, I’m ready to make it into something marvelous.

I love to be alone, and I love to communicate. I resolve this paradox by writing. Writing is my activity, my voice, my lifeforce. And I value it, more so than I ever have. I value myself. I enjoy writing, but it also demands much of me, without even factoring in the depleting trivialities and stresses of daily life.

This year, apart from my writing, I’ll focus on playing the violin; reading tarot; making macramé (I stopped after certain incredibly intense and life-changing events took place, and I’ve only just begun to get my bearings back); reading; photography; creating art; enjoying my toy collection; enjoying my life how and where I choose. I’ll frequent local businesses, drink hot apple cider at vibrant nearby cafés, savor the silence at the local library, stroll down the main street with my backpack and notebook.

I feel good. Strong. I make decisions based on my needs, preferences, and aptitudes. I choose my life. I choose myself. It’s a good place to be.

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Masterful: Severus and me

Welcome to the fondue party, fellow mavericks.

Summer’s been hot, but I can sense the faint beginning of autumn in the air, and oh yes, I’m more than ready.

I’ve plunged headfirst into my next writing project, which has been long in the making. This book is even more outrageous than Rascal. It’s a continuation of Rascal: A Manifesto, in a way.

This book will be published late this fall (I’m aiming for November). Apart from my Patreon activity, it’s the focus of my attention at the moment. I’ll also continue working (at a slower pace) on Wolfgang, Booklet Two in September.

Here’s what I recently wrote on Patreon about the author photograph I took for Masterful: Severus Snape, a Jar of Cockroaches, and Me.

I wanted this photograph to celebrate my humanity, freedom, vulnerability, and power. For many years, I was Orthodox when I cosplayed Snape, and the costume had monastic connotations to me. This is definitely no longer the case. So I wanted to demonstrate this in the portrait. One of the things I’m going to discuss in the book, which will be mostly about my life experiences in relation to Professor Snape, is how my understanding of him has evolved and helped me in my personal development and emancipation. His strength of character, his ability to stand tall, to stand alone, his abiding mystery… All of this is what’s most appealing to me about him.

Doing this shoot was exhilarating. I took quite a few shots, as usual, because I know that in most cases, minor variations will strike a photograph from the list; this or that isn’t right…

The photo I selected had all the elements I wanted the portrait to have. I wanted it to be fairly androgynous, ultimately I wanted a half coat, half flesh situation, with at least a portion of my Snape ink visible, and with, well, the kind of expression I have in the photo I chose.

I didn’t touch the original shots much. That one, I barely even had to crop, I’m trying to remember! I added a touch of contrast and made the green colors pop more. Because I’m so darn pale, the silver makeup on my eyes, and the glitter on my face and neck, chest, and upper left arm basically look like a shimmering glow in the photo. On the actual cover, I think that some of the glitter will be more visible. I’m happy I picked the silver background, because it looks great in the shot. Throughout the session, the light kept changing because I was using natural light.

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Are you ready for this ride? It’s going to be a wild ride, I tell you.

In other news, I have a Build A Bear named William and it makes me tremendously happy. Working in my 70s lair is a source of continual joy and pleasure to me.

Say cheese.

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Underworld Amusements and other news

Welcome to the fondue party, fellow mavericks.

I’m working on a number of writing projects (as usual), and there will be new portraits soon.

It’s with a tremendous amount of joy and pride that I make the following announcement: Rascal: A Manifesto is now available on the website of the excellent small press Underworld Amusements.

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Underworld Amusements publisher Kevin I. Slaughter is a fantastic individual and I can’t thank him enough for adding my book to the unique selection of devious titles on his website. While you grab a copy of Rascal, do add a few more books to your cart! You won’t regret it.

I haven’t been using the new platform MeWe as much as I thought I would, because for some reason it’s messing up my browser and slowing down my computer. So… I’m here, on Patreon (become a member for twelve dollars a year—buy me a couple of drinks—and have access to an increasing number of exclusive goodies, such as an upcoming blog post about the joy of using real dictionaries), Twitter, and Instagram.

In other news, I’m looking forward to contributing to upcoming Reprobate publications. Have you gotten your copy of Satan Superstar yet?

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My next book, as I’ve previously mentioned, will be my ode to solitude and how I revel in indulging my solitary disposition:

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And this summer, my focus will be this book, and it’s going to be a deliciously nasty project. I drew inspiration for the cover from one of my favorite films, The Neon Demon.

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Masterful will be like a decadent perfume celebrating the vital self. A rejection of herd thinking, an affirmation of the self-sufficient outsider. I’ll write about why Severus Snape is distrusted by many (and why there is no reason for him to give a rat’s ass about this), about the nature of his distinctive power, a power that made him an unparalleled pivotal figure in Rowling’s universe. Oh, and he wasn’t Dumbledore’s.

My Patreon members will be getting a special edition of this book, with extra content.

After Masterful comes out, I’ll be retiring the first two books of essays I wrote about him.

Say cheese.

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